Behind Rico Love is a creative, visionary and music industry educator that has produced, written, and contributed to hit records including Usher’s “There Goes My Baby,” Nelly’s “Just a Dream,” Trey Songz “Heart Attack,” Kelly Rowland’s “Motivation” feat Lil’ Wayne, and Beyoncé’s “Sweet Dreams.” He has also contributed to Grammy-winning works such as Beyoncé’s 2009 Best Contemporary R&B album “I Am… Sasha Fierce.”
Rico Love’s body of work is extensive. However, not only does he work as both a producer and artist within the ever-changing landscape of the music industry; he also invests in technologies that provide a greater platform for artist discovery and creativity.
In an interview, Love spoke about the music industry, creating financial opportunities, and gives advice to young creatives.
Black Enterprise: How do you see yourself evolving as a veteran in the music landscape that exists today?
Rico Love: I am now 36-years-old, which is a dinosaur in the music industry, but I’ve been in the game since I was 17 years old. At first, you are bothered by how easily accessible things have become. When you get past the initial annoyance of the change, you adjust. I have been able to create different platforms for myself where I can add value. This includes adding value to myself through the creation of content for others, developing platforms for emerging artists, and also developing this with a financial strategy in play.
Financially, how are you able to set yourself apart to either create or take advantage of opportunities when presented?
I went through some of the most challenging financial times of my life because of my value system and unwillingness to compromise on my principles for a dollar. It’s about having the willingness and smarts and being open-minded to recognize what is a good opportunity and what is not. Even more important is building your brand to be strong enough to fit in many rooms. I can fit in the streets, in Hollywood, and corporate because I can articulate myself in all three parameters. I do not limit myself, but I don’t spread myself so wide that I alienate myself from being able to gain financially.
Why is community currency important, and as a musician why must you connect and have a genuine appreciation for the communities that support you?
I am who I am. I don’t place a level of importance on things that I do in the sense that I don’t have to tell myself to do things for the community. It is who I am so it is already important for me to do things in the community. The value and substance of who you are is a natural thing. It can’t be coached up.
What are you working on in the world of tech?
There is something I have in the works that allow creatives to create and build records the same way people create via Twitter or Instagram. A quick form transfer file that allows collaboration between creatives. For example, I start a loop and post it—someone else can join in on the creative process. if a piano player goes to my page they can add a melody to the loop. Musicians are able to watch and join in on the session and create a whole track real time.
What are three key pieces of advice for young creatives?
- If you want to do something and you are willing to do it for 10 years for free then that is what you truly want. if you see someone doing something and you see it as a quick way to make money then it is not your passion. Stop focusing on simply trying to get a dollar because even if you become successful you are still pushing the culture back.
- Elevate yourself and stop looking for people to validate you and elevate you. Create something people cannot refuse. Stop telling people what you need and starting being what they need. When you become what they need you do not have to ask people for anything.
- Who are you? People do everything else in the world and try to figure everything else out but never define who they are. Figure out and discover who you are as an artist, as a person, and as a brand. Once you discover this, remain true to your core value and belief system and do not compromise this.
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